When learning Spanish, it is very common for students to realize that communicating with native speakers is not as easy as they thought. Not only do you need to deal with their speed, but also with any slang expressions they use and that you probably didn’t learn in a Spanish Course. This is especially true in Mexico where you might discover that people use slang expressions often.
In order to help you improve your Spanish speaking skills, we compiled a list of the most common Mexican slang expressions you are most likely to hear in a conversation. After reading this, you are going to be ready to speak like a native and, more importantly, you’ll be able to understand them.
1. ¡Qué milagro! – Long time no see
No matter how tempted you are to translate this Mexican slang expression into ‘what a miracle’, you have to keep in mind that native speakers use it in very specific situations (and it’s not used for talking about religion). We say ‘¡qué milagro! when we run into a person we haven’t seen in a while. As a result, this Mexican phrase is translated as ‘long time no see’.
¡Qué milagro! Hace mucho que no te veía Long time no see! I haven’t seen you in a while
It can also be used when you want to show your surprise about something. However, in this context, the meaning of this phrase changes. Therefore, it can be translated as ‘how extraordinary’.
¡Qué milagro que quisieras venir! How extraordinary that you wanted to come!
2. La Neta / Neta – The truth
This phrase has become so popular that you may have heard it before. And if you haven’t, there is no doubt that you need to learn it. ‘La neta/neta’ is the Mexican slang expression for ‘the truth’. And the good news is that you would use this word the same way you use ‘truth’ in English.
|¿Es neta?||Is that true?|
|Dime la neta||Tell me the truth|
La neta es una mala película The truth is that’s a bad movie
Since this is a very basic word in Mexican slang vocabulary, I wrote this article where I explain more in-depth all the uses, meanings and synonyms of ‘Neta’.
3. Cámara – Okay
No. We are not talking about your camera. When using it as a slang expression ‘cámara’ means ‘okay. Although girls might use this phrase, in Mexico is more common to hear it among men.
Cámara, nos vemos ahí Okay, I’ll see you there
Voy a tu casa a las ocho, ¿cámara? I’ll go to your house at 8, okay?
4. Echar la mano – To give a hand
This phrase is the direct translation of ‘to give a hand’ and just as in English, we use it to ask or offer our help. Since it is a colloquial expression, in Mexico we use ‘echar la mano’ in informal situations.
Le eché la mano con carro I gave him a hand with his car
¿Me echas una mano? Can you give me a hand?
¡Échale la mano a tu hermana Give your sister a hand!
5. Ir de la Patada – Things are going badly
There is no direct translation for this Mexican slang phrase, but we use it when we want to express that things are going really bad.
Me está yendo de la patada It’s going badly for me
Le va de la patada en la escuela School is going badly for her
You can also use ‘Estar de la patada’ to describe that an object, activity or situation is awful or has bad quality. In this case, this Mexican slang expression is a synonym of ‘bad’ or ‘awful’.
El trabajo está de la patada The job is awful
La película está de la patada The movie is very bad
‘De la patada’ is one of the most common Mexican slang expressions, therefore, in this article I discussed how, when and with whom you can use this phrase with. Furthermore, you’ll learn some other slang synonyms that you can use instead of ‘de la patada’.
6. ¡Qué poca! – That’s awful
This is the abridged version of ‘Qué poca madre’ a slang phrase that we use in Mexico to express our disapproval when somebody did something awful or bad. Although you cannot translate this expression directly into English, the closest phrase in meaning would be ‘that’s awful’.
¡Qué poca! ¿Por qué hiciste eso? That’s awful! Why did you do that?
You can also use this expression as a comment in a conversation. Let’s imagine that somebody is telling you that a friend got robbed on the street, you would say ‘Qué poca’ to show empathy and agreement on that awful situation.
7. Cooperacha – To collect money
This one is very popular, both among young people and grownups and it refers to collect money for either hanging out with your friends or to help someone who is going through some financial issues
Vamos a hacer una cooperacha para una nueva computadora Let’s collect money for a new computer
In the case that you are collecting money with a group of people and if you need to ask about how much money each person has to help with, you would say:
¿De a cuánto la cooperacha? How much money do we need?
8. Chido – Cool or Nice
This mexican slang expressions list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include ‘chido’. Depending on the context you are using it in, ‘Chido’ could mean different things, but generally speaking, we use it to express that something or somebody is cool or nice.
|Tus zapatos están chidos||Your shoes are cool|
|Mis amigos son muy chidos||My friends are very cool|
‘Chido’ is a very robust word whose meaning can vary depending on the context. As a result, there are many situations where Mexican speakers use this word. If you want to know more about what does ‘chido’ mean and how to use correctly, this article will give you all the information you need.
9. Fresa – Preppy/To be vain
Although ‘Fresa’ is the Mexican word for ‘preppy’, we use this expression to describe a person that might be considered boring because they don’t curse, they are always early at home or they don’t do ‘normal things’ for their age.
No seas fresa, tómate una cerveza Drink a beer, don’t be such a fussy
Using it in the Context of Vanity
It also describes a wealthy person who likes to brag about their status. In this case, ‘fresa’ would be translated as ‘to be vain’.
No me cae bien es muy fresa I don’t like her, she’s very vain
10. No manches – No way
This is another famous Mexican slang expression and although it doesn’t have an exact translation in English, it could be used as ‘no way’, ‘you’re kidding’ and ‘holy crap’. Just as with these expressions, we say ‘No manches’ to express surprise about a situation.
¡No manches! Está lloviendo mucho Holy crap! It’s raining so much!
¡No manches! ¿Cuántos años tienes? No way! How old are you?
We can also use it to say ‘that’s enough’ when somebody is bothering you.
¡Ya, no manches! Me estás lastimando That’s enough! You are hurting me
11. ¡Aguas! – Watch Out
‘¡Aguas!’ is the Mexican slang expression for ‘watch out’ or ‘be careful’ And we use it as a way to warn somebody about an upcoming accident or danger.
¡Aguas! Vas a chocar con la señora Watch out! You are going to hit that lady
¡Aguas! Hay vidrio en el piso Be careful! There’s glass on the floor
Notice that we only use it when there is an immediate accident or danger. If you want to protect people from the danger in the streets or an activity in the future, you wouldn’t use ‘Aguas’, instead, you would say ‘Ten cuidado’ because it’s more general and you are not sure if there is a real danger.
12. Echar aguas – To warn
Although it might seem to you that ‘¡Aguas!’ and ‘Echar aguas’ are related, the truth is that they have very different meanings. ‘Echar aguas’ is a slang expression that means ‘to warn’. In other words, it is similar to ‘tell me if something or somebody is coming’. Despite what you might think, Mexican people, don’t use this expression in shady situations.
Échame aguas que no venga un carro Let me know if a car is coming
Voy por el balón, échame aguas con el perro I’ll go for the ball, watch the dog
13. Hacer el oso / Qué oso – How embarrassing
There’s no doubt that you need to add this phrase to repertoire of Mexican slang expressions. ‘Qué oso’ means ‘how embarrassing’ and Hacer el oso is the Spanish phrase for ‘make a fool of myself’.
¡Qué oso! Me caí enfrente de todos How embarrassing! I fell in front of everybody
Con esa ropa vas a hacer el oso With those clothes you are going to make a fool of yourself
This is a post that wrote about this Mexican expression so you can learn when and how to use it like a native speaker!
14. Irse de Peda – To drink/To party
If you are going to spend some days in Mexico and you are the type of person who likes to party, then, you need to learn ‘irse de peda’. This is one of those Mexican slang expressions that don’t have a direct translation in English. However, ‘irse de peda’ means to party or hanging out with the sole purpose of drinking… a lot!
Vámonos de peda este fin de semana Let’s drink this weekend
Me fui de peda con mis amigos I went drinking with my friends
As you can imagine this is a very popular expression among young people.
15. Ponerse/Estar hasta las chanclas – To be drunk
So now that we are talking about drinking and parties, let’s continue with several more slang expressions used for drinking. Think of it this way, if irse de peda is the beginning of your night, ‘Ponerse/estar hasta las chanclas’ is the result! This slang expression cannot be translated directly into English. However, ‘Ponerse hasta las chanclas’ is a phrase that we use to say that someone was really drunk.
Ayer me puse hasta las chanclas I was so drunk yesterday
Mis amigos están hasta las chanclas My friends are so drunk
We also use it to say that we are going to drink a lot:
Me voy a poner hasta las chanclas en la fiesta I’m going to drink a lot in the party
16. Cruda – Hangover
If you were partying so much and ‘te pusiste hasta las chanclas’ it is very likely that you are going to have a hangover. In Mexico, we call this ‘cruda’ and even if it’s a slang expression, this word is widely used.
|Tengo cruda||I have a hangover|
|Estamos crudos||We have a hangover|
|Amanecí crudo||I woke up with a hangover|
17. Dar el avión – To humor someone
‘Dar el avión’ is used when somebody is not paying attention to you, and they just agree on whatever you say so you can leave them alone. It’s similar to the English expression ‘to humor someone’.
¿Me estás dando el avión? Are you humoring me?
¡No me des el avión! Es importante Don’t humor me! It’s important
18. Me vale – I don’t care
‘Me vale’ is a shortening of ‘Me vale madre’ – a slang expression that means ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t give a damn’. Given that ‘me vale madre’ is a cursing expression, people use ‘Me vale’ instead.
Me vale tu opinión I don’t care what you think
Me vale lo que diga la gente I don’t give a damn about what people say
Although ‘Me vale’ is more polite than ‘Me vale madre’, still it could be considered rude. So in order to avoid any awkward situations, try to use it with your Mexican friends. If you wanted to use this phrase with another subject, you only need to change the indirect pronoun. Here are some other examples of how to use this phrase.
Nos vale lo que pienses We don’t care what you think
A Juan Carlos le vale lo que dice la gente Juan Carlos doesn’t care about what people say”
19. Chambear – To work
This slang word is used among both young people and grown-ups in informal situations. ‘Chambear’ means ‘to work’. You can also use it as a noun, therefore, it could be translated as ‘work’ or ‘job’.
Me gusta mi chamba I like my job
¿En qué chambeas? What’s your job?
Estoy buscando chamba I’m looking for a job
Chambeo en las mañanas I work in the morning
The good news is that if you decide to use it as a verb, ‘chambear’ is regular, so you won’t have many issues when conjugating.
20. Me Late – To like
Although ‘latir’ means ‘to beat’ in English, when using it as a slang phrase it can have several meanings depending on the situation. It can be used as ‘I like’ or ‘I like you’:
|Me late esa chava||I like that girl|
|Me laten esos zapatos||I like those shoes|
It can also express agreement:
Nos vemos a las 8, ¿te late Let’s meet at 8, okay?
Or it can be used when having a hunch:
Me late que voy a gana I have a feeling that I’m going to win
21. Estar Cañón / Qué cañón – Difficult
If you have seen TV shows in Spanish or you have a Mexican friend, it’s very likely that you’ve heard this expression before. This slang expression doesn’t have anything to do with the English word ‘cannon’. When you hear ‘Estar cañón’ or ‘Qué cañón’ people actually means that something is very difficult or complicated.
|El examen está cañón||The test is very difficult|
This Mexican slang expression also can be used to express that someone is very good at something.
Gabriel está cañón en matemáticas Gabriel is very good at math
It is also used as a synonym for ‘very bad’. However, in this context, we generally use it to talk about the weather or a social situation.
La inseguridad en la ciudad está cañón The insecurity in the city is very bad
22. Echar la hueva – To do nothing and being lazy
‘Echar la hueva’ or ‘Echar hueva’ means to take a day off where you practically do nothing productive. If you are going to stay home, being lazy and watching TV you would say ‘Echar la hueva’.
No tengo planes. Voy a echar la hueva I have no plans. I’m going to rest and do nothing
Echamos la hueva todo el día We didn’t do anything the whole day
Although is a very popular expression in Mexico, it’s very common to hear it among friends and young people.
23. Echar Carrilla – To make fun
This another common expression that you will hear in a lot of informal situations. In English, this phrase would be ‘to make fun of’ or ‘to mock’. Although ‘echar carrilla’ might seem like a negative expression, generally speaking, it’s used among friends and it isn’t intended to offend.
Andrea me echó carrilla por mis zapatos Andrea made fun of me because of my shoes
Mis amigos y yo nos echamos carrilla My friends and me make fun of each other
If you want to describe a person that likes to make fun of friends or to mock, then you would say ‘Ser carrilla’
|Andrea es muy carrilla||Andrea is very mocking|
As mentioned before, this Mexican slang expression is not often seen as something bad or rude. After all, friends tend to laugh at each other.
24. Andar al 100/ Estar al 100 – To feel very good
When Mexicans want to say they are very well or that they have a lot of energy, they use ‘Andar al 100’ or ‘Estar al 100’. Although it’s considered as slang, this phrase can be used in many contexts.
Hoy ando al 100 I feel very well today
Después de correr estoy al 100 After running I have lots of energy
25. Rajarse – To back out
One of the most cliché Mexican phrases is No te rajes and there’s a good reason for that. In Mexico, this slang expression is very common and it means ‘to back out’ or ‘to get cold feet’.
Yo no me rajo I don’t back out
Ana se rajó y no vino Ana backed out and didn’t come
Here is a little plus: if you know someone that backs out a lot, you can call him ‘Rajón’.
26. ¡Qué Güey! – Silly
‘Güey’ is so famous that at this point is very likely that you have already heard about it. But you should keep in mind that Mexicans we not only use it as ‘dude’. We also use it as an expression to say that somebody is silly or dumb.
¡Qué güey estás! You are so silly!
Mi hermano está bien güey My brother is very dumb
No seas güey, te vas a caer Don’t be silly, you are going to fall
Like other Mexican slang words, ‘Güey’ is a very robust expression whose meaning will vary depending on how you use it. Since Mexicans use this word very often, I wrote this article so you can see the different meanings of ‘Güey’ and some synonyms.
In this list, you learned some of the most common Mexican slang words and expressions. Although we have more expressions, these 26 phrases should help you to better communicate with Mexicans. Don’t forget that these expressions are primarily for informal situations. Furthermore, avoid translating them directly into English because you’ll find out that, most of the time, they don’t make sense. Start putting your slang phrases into practice and sound like a Mexican!